- Liverpool host Real Madrid on Tuesday night in a repeat of the 2022 Champions League final as two of Europe’s heavyweights go head-to-head.
- The Reds have failed to get one over Los Blancos in any of their last six meetings, with their last victory over the club coming back in 2009.
- Both sides face selection issues, with the likes of Darwin Nunez, Toni Kroos and Aurelien Tchouameni all big doubts for the fixture.
Nunez is a doubt for the match after picking up a shoulder injury against Newcastle United on Sunday. The forward was forced off after just an hour of play and Liverpool are still awaiting to hear how serious the injury is.
Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino offer options as Nunez’s replacement if the Uruguayan is unable to feature but the former is still yet to start a game for the Reds since October following his own return from injury. Fellow attacking option Luis Diaz remains out.
Ibrahima Konate will also remain out due to a hamstring issue that has kept him on the sidelines for the past three matches. Joe Gomez is expected to keep his place alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back. Thiago Alcantara will also be absent after missing the previous two games with a hip problem. Teenager Stefan Bajcetic will likely remain in the midfield.
Karim Benzema was missing from Real Madrid’s victory over Osasuna over the weekend but reports have suggested their star forward has returned to training and will be available for the first leg. Left-back Ferland Mendy continues to struggle and is unlikely to be ready for the Anfield clash.
Both Kroos and Tchouameni were absent from the most recent training sessions, however, since both players have been dealing with illness and it is very likely that the pair will miss the match.
Champions League Form
Liverpool face a tough task of getting past Real Madrid in the round of 16 after narrowly missing out on topping Group A. The Reds suffered just one defeat through their six games - a 4-1 defeat away to Napoli - but recorded a victory in all of their other matches, including an emphatic 7-1 triumph away to Rangers at Ibrox back in October.
Jurgen Klopp’s side scored the third highest number of goals at the group stage and their poor domestic form at the start of the campaign didn’t transfer over into Europe.
It was a fairly comfortable route to victory for current European champions Real Madrid as they topped Group F ahead of the likes of RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic. Los Blancos raced to ten points through their opening four games and despite suffering a 3-2 defeat away to Leipzig, a 5-1 route at home to Celtic concluded proceedings.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Liverpool 17, Real Madrid 15
Goals Against: Liverpool 6, Real Madrid 6
Both Teams To Score %: Liverpool 50%, Real Madrid 66.67%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Liverpool 66.67%, Real Madrid 66.67%
Liverpool and Real Madrid are truly two of Europe’s heavyweights and both teams last met less than a year ago in the final in Paris. Carlo Ancelotti led his side to Los Blancos’ fifth Champions League triumph in nine years thanks to a goal by Vinicius Jr and a wonderful display by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. It was also Ancelotti’s fourth ever Champions League title as a coach, officially making him the most successful manager in the tournament’s history.
The Reds have not had the best of luck against Madrid over the years and were knocked out of the competition by them the year previous as well. A 3-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu was enough for Zinedine Zidane’s side to advance into the semi-finals.
Of course, football fans will also remember the 2018 final too where a heroic cameo by Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid to their third back-to-back Champions League title. Liverpool will desperately be searching for revenge this time around.
It has been a tough campaign for Liverpool in the Premier League so far this season as they sit in eighth through 22 games. However, back-to-back victories over Everton and Newcastle will give them confidence heading into their gigantic clash here.
After narrowly missing out on the title last season by just a single point to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City once more, it has been a campaign to forget for Klopp. However, he will be hoping his side can finish strongly and they are still in the hunt for a top four finish.
January signing Cody Gakpo has got off the mark for his new side and has scored in both of his last two matches, giving him confidence heading into the Madrid fixture. Nunez also scored his first league goal at the weekend since November so the Liverpool attack will have momentum.
The ascendency at the top of La Liga seems to be over for Real Madrid and Xavi has got Barcelona back to playing at their best. Ancelotti’s side sit eight points behind their fierce rivals after 22 matches and although the title is still within reach, it is Barca who are in command for the time being.
Real’s form hasn’t been as spotless as we have been accustomed to of late and they have only won three out of their last five league matches, suffering a recent 1-0 defeat away to Mallorca. However, a 2-0 win away to Osasuna on Saturday means they head into this one on a two-game winning streak.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Liverpool 0-0 Real Madrid @ 12/1 Despite Liverpool having a poor season, Anfield remains a fortress and the Reds have suffered just one defeat at home all season in all competitions. Coupled with the fact that Real Madrid are suffering with some fitness issues to key players, we can see this one heading for a goalless draw.
Cody Gakpo 1+ Shot on Target @ 8/13 Gakpo has found his feet for Liverpool in the past week, scoring his first goal for the club in their derby victory over Everton. The Dutchman followed that up with his second goal in their 2-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday and he will be full of confidence. With Nunez also a doubt, Gakpo could be handed more responsibility in the forward line.
Vinicius Jr. To Commit 2+ Fouls @ 1/2 The Brazilian forward has picked up the most amount of yellow cards for Real Madrid this season in La Liga and has been dealing with some ill-discipline of late, receiving five yellow cards in his last nine games. He has also committed at least one foul in four of his last five matches, including two against Osasuna at the weekend.
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